Mac mini?

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ott0bot
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Post by ott0bot » Sun May 04, 2014 8:50 am

RoyMatthews wrote:I'd say if you don't need a Mini right this second and can wait then, wait. They're really due for an upgrade. And even if the new Mini doesn't fit your needs then you at least might get a deal on the current models.

http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac_Mini
that may be true. my guess is that they'll opt to remove the FireWire and force me to get a thunderbolt hub or change interfaces. maybe I can wait right until they release the new model, then pick an old model up at a discount while they still have stock.

analogika
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Post by analogika » Sun May 04, 2014 9:18 am

Jeff White wrote:I have the MBP connected to an OWC drive via FW800, and then I come out of that drive's FW400 port to my MH2882, which is also daisy-chained to a MOTU 828mk2. The drive is simply for backups, sometimes for VIs or samples (rarely these days). So the interfaces are running FW400, the drive is running FW800? I was under the impression that if you had a FW800 and a FW400 device on the same port it automatically defaulted to FW400.
No, it does not.

Firewire was designed from the get-go specifically to allow devices of different speeds to co-exist without affecting each others' throughput.

See the Metric Halo Technote on Demystifying Firewire:
http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/support ... faces.html

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Jeff White
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Post by Jeff White » Mon May 05, 2014 8:23 am

analogika wrote:
Jeff White wrote:I have the MBP connected to an OWC drive via FW800, and then I come out of that drive's FW400 port to my MH2882, which is also daisy-chained to a MOTU 828mk2. The drive is simply for backups, sometimes for VIs or samples (rarely these days). So the interfaces are running FW400, the drive is running FW800? I was under the impression that if you had a FW800 and a FW400 device on the same port it automatically defaulted to FW400.
No, it does not.

Firewire was designed from the get-go specifically to allow devices of different speeds to co-exist without affecting each others' throughput.

See the Metric Halo Technote on Demystifying Firewire:
http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/support ... faces.html
Thanks for clearing this up for me!

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my home studio, Ch?teau Blanco, and in various spaces in the Philly area. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

analogika
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Post by analogika » Mon May 05, 2014 12:46 pm

Very welcome! :)

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Mac Mini

Post by xpulsar » Tue May 13, 2014 9:56 pm

I am currently running a Mac Mini i7 2.3ghz with 16gb of ram with the Pro Tools 11 HD Native thunderbolt and an Avid 16 i/o. Sonnet Express III-d thunderbolt chassis with a UAD Octo PCIe card. The system is rock solid and I am able to open any of the the songs I am working on the HDX mac pro rig at the studio. I am mixing ITB at home and really loving the results.

-Collin

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Post by norton » Wed May 14, 2014 6:56 am

Sweet. I'm sold!

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Post by John Jeffers » Thu May 15, 2014 8:52 pm

I was waiting for a Mac Mini update, too. Then I read that the next-gen Broadwell chips from Intel got pushed back to at least Q4 2014, maybe into 2015. Given that the next major update to the Mac Minis are likely to come from that chip family, I decided to order now. Even if there is an update soon, it's likely to be nothing more than a minor speed bump, similar to what the Macbook Airs just got.

I ordered a 2.6 GHz i7 model with 4 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. I'm upgrading the RAM myself to 16 GB as well as adding a 2nd 480 GB SSD. It won't exactly be a powerhouse by today's standards, but I'm hoping it'll get me by for a year or two to give me time to figure out what to do about the trash can Mac Pro debacle.

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Post by norton » Fri May 16, 2014 7:09 am

John, I think we are in the same boat.

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Post by John Jeffers » Fri May 16, 2014 3:52 pm

Everything arrived today. Here are my initial thoughts:

- Upgrading the RAM is dead simple. Minis are designed with that in mind.

- Adding the 2nd hard drive is daunting, and I have a fair amount of experience building PCs. You basically have to take the whole Mini apart. Set aside some time, be careful, and follow the directions carefully. Incidentally, I purchased a "data doubler" kit from OWC (macsales.com) which included all the necessary tools, parts, and instructions to add the 2nd drive. Highly recommended.

- After everything was installed and I fired up some PT sessions, it looks like it's going to work alright. Processor utilization looks fairly similar to what I was seeing on my 2008 Mac Pro 8-core, maybe a little less. I wouldn't try to run high track count, high sample rate sessions on this, but for your average sized 44.1/48 session it should be fine.

- The fan gets fairly noisy when it works hard. Could be a problem if you're recording delicate, quiet stuff. Shouldn't matter for loud rock stuff, though.

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Post by John Jeffers » Sun May 18, 2014 1:51 pm

John Jeffers wrote:I wouldn't try to run high track count, high sample rate sessions on this, but for your average sized 44.1/48 session it should be fine.
I might have spoken too soon about this. It looks like this little Mac might be able to handle the higher sample rates, too.

I took a 48K/24-bit session and converted it to 88.2K/24-bit. This session has about 40 tracks, with a pretty standard (for me) plugin count, averaging 1-3 plugins per track. A few of the tracks have high-CPU hit plugins on them like amp simulators, but most are EQs and compressors.

Here's what I found:

48K, 64 sample buffer - 30-35% CPU
48K, 1024 sample buffer - 25-30% CPU
88.2K, 64 sample buffer - 45-50% CPU
88.2K, 1024 sample buffer - 45-50% CPU

Interestingly, the sample buffer size didn't seem to impact the CPU use at 88.2K like I expected it would. I'll have to see if I can replicate that with other sessions.

BTW, I work almost exclusively in Pro Tools 11 on an Orion 32 interface connected via USB.

So far, I'm pretty damn happy with this little computer. Total cost including the RAM upgrade and 2nd SSD was about $1500, half the price of the new Mac Pro. It might very well be half the performance of the new Mac Pro, too, but it's enough for me.

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